ARSENAL'S perfect Bank Holiday weekend was completed when a goal by the England international Kelley Few in the third minute of injury time gave them a 3-2 victory over Croydon in the CSI FA Women's Cup final yesterday.
Croydon opened the scoring yesterday, slightly against the run of play after 10 minutes, when Kirsty Pealling brought down the marauding Julie Fletcher in the penalty area and the former Arsenal striker, Jo Broadhurst, scored from the spot.
Seven minutes later, Arsenal were level. Julie Darby was dispossessed by Rachel Yankey whose cross fell invitingly for Marieanne Spacey to attempt a spectacular volley, but she completely miscued. The ball looped up agonisingly beyond Louise Cooper in the Croydon goal and in off the far post.
Arsenal stepped up a gear at the start of the second half and were rewarded with another bizarre goal in the 52nd minute. Yankey, put through by Vicki Slee, seemed second favourite in the race for the ball as Cooper came off her line but the Croydon keeper missed her kick and Yankey was left with the simplest of tap-ins.
Three minutes later, though, Cooper's opposite number, Sarah Reed, hammered a clearance straight at her own defender Carol Harwood and Hope Powell was on hand to steal an equaliser.
Thereafter, Croydon looked the more likely winners, but with time running out Spacey's 25 yard free-kick was parried on to the bar by Cooper and there was Few to bundle the ball over the line.
Arsenal (5-3-2): Reed; Pealling, White, Harwood, Few, Jerray-Silver; Slee, Mapes (Daly, 64), Williams; Yankey, Spacey. Substitutes not used: Hastings, Downham, Watt, Scrivens.
Croydon (5-3-2): Cooper; Fletcher, Darby, Wylie, Bampton, Cottier; Powell, Davis, Britton; Proctor, Broadhurst. Substitutes not used: Barber, Dines, Osbourne, Jones, Biggins.
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).